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Alabama opens center in India to boost trade

By M.J. Ellington (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY — North Alabama chickens, wood products and other agricultural commodities soon may find their way to India through an Alabama Trade Development Center in New Delhi.

Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, and at least five other lawmakers returned Monday from a trade mission trip and ceremony opening Alabama's center in the country of 1 billion people.

"Some people may ask why are these figures for India important to us here in Alabama," Sparks said. "Because Alabama companies are poised, ready and able to sell many products to Indian buyers."

Sparks said the demand for poultry meat is growing rapidly around the world and as one of the largest poultry producers in the U.S., Alabama is ready to sell for that market.

"India has 300 million people considered to be part of the consuming middle class economy of the country," Sparks said.

"That is more than the entire population of the United States."

The Alabama office in New Delhi will receive funding from the state Agriculture and Industries Department through the Southern States Trade Association's operations in New Delhi.

Foreign nationals from India who are used to dealing with U.S. markets will staff the Indian office, market the state's products, negotiate with prospective buyers and help ease import barriers.

The Alabama delegation that went on the trip also met with the U.S. ambassador to India, the New Delhi mayor, and paper and pet-food importers.

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